Whether I have to beg or steal, I need to go.

I was thinking to myself today of the last time. In 2005, as I sat in the stone circle with my friends on the last evening of the festival, I asked myself the question ‘Did you you have a good time?’. And the answer was a resounding yes. I’m been made tentless, I was soaked, I’d been in the same clothes for 4 days and I didn’t give a fuck. I thought to myself today, I don’t want to be watching it on the tele, kicking myself in the head for not struggling to get there. I’ll be sick.

I used to think it’d be a lovely idea to go every year, (touch wood) hopefully with a family in later days, taking them along and just going Glastonbury every year. That’s a pipe dream but I do think I’d like to go as much as I can. I’m sure I’ll miss years, but I love the concept so much.

Another thing is (and this is quite horrible for some people, not me) that I have the wristbands from 2004 and 2005 still on my wrist. They’ve been with me ages now, some guy when I was in Morocco even asked to take one from me (he was never gonna get it and they’re metal clapsed anyway). Still, they shower with me, they wash with me, I don’t think it’s filthy. I have a lot of other sub-teenage crap on my wrist anyway so it fits. Anywho, it’s like having a reminder, a tattoo, without the expense, pain or regret. I can just cut them off if I want. But they have to return, another must be added, this is a contract almost. It’s essential to my mental health (for the next year) that I go.

But with Glastonbury, I don’t know what it is exactly. Sure it’s commercialised now or whatever and it’s not hippies anymore but there are so many amazing things going for it. I’ve never seen one bit of violence, everyone is nice and friendly and there’s so much to do other than watching music. It inspires me every time I’m there. It’s like a village erects itself from nowhere and vanishes just as quickly as it arrived. A ghost village. It’s just an experience. It’s an institution. It may not be what it used to be (so I’m repeatedly told), but what it is now is pretty fucking amazing and exhilarating nonetheless.devastation

Last time, my friends and I were subjected to the awful flooding, like this picture on the right. I woke up in the morning to shouting outside, feeling a bit wet and opened my eyes just in time to see my phone floating in water. Then I opened my tent door – big mistake – water came flooding in and as I frantically grabbed my things, I laughed as I saw my mate Softlad, floating on his airbed inside his tent.

We were slap bang in the middle of this flooding and later, our tents became completely submerged in water. Even funnier, the septic tank in the nearby toilets burst too, thus contaminating every thing that we left behind.

After listening to the first hour of the festival on Radio 1, while drying off in our car, we rocked out and had the best fucking time. We slept in the Acoustic stage (essentially a massive marquee) with the wind whipping in, wrapped sleeping in those metal blankets they give to shock victims. It was hilarious. My next day was my birthday and I quickly realised that upon waking up, you had to get plastered. It was the only way to ensure you didn’t become miserable at your plight.

But that’s Glastonbury. You don’t care. You muck in, you get wasted, and as you watch the sun come up over the stone circle on the last night, you’re smiling your head off having a brilliant time.

I remember a moment, in 2004 (see pix below), as Supergrass played on the main stage. The rain came pouring down, really hard, and in the middle of the storm, with a wet j and 9% pear cider in my hand the sun came out magnificently, creating a beautiful rainbow. Then, if memory serves me right, I believe the band noticed and played ‘Sun Hits The Sky‘. It’s moments like these that make it. When everything comes together, connected, perfectly.

I’m there. I don’t care how I have to get there, I will try my hardest. I’ve just gotta hope and pray I get a ticket. I was debating before, but I am a yes man and I will be there (touch wood!)

J.

N.B. Must post more but my Internet connection’s fucked at the moment.

pix below: the sun breaks through at Glastonbury…

as it chucks it down, the sun breaks through

chuckin’ it down

wonderful, wonderful Glastonbury mud

running with the bulls.

February 17, 2007

This is where I’m going in July. There’ll be six of us, cruising in an RV across Spain, stopping off here, then following onto Benicassim. Might need to get some dodging practice in (see right hand side of the screen, 00:58 min).

Running with the bulls…

J.

the edge of the storm.

January 15, 2007

the edge of the storm.

x, J.

benicassim ’07

December 19, 2006

Right … click the picture below and it’ll take you to the page (I mean my friends but obviously randoms can to if they’re searching net for Benicassim info)  and there’s the page with all the info cut and pasted, ’tis long but if we make decision early the earlier I can budget and pay!

fib06_publico_libertopeiro.jpg

J

extract.

August 29, 2006

a month in marocAware that due to holidays and what-not, I haven’t posted in a while. Here’s an extract from a month in maroc to tide this over:

x, J.

HASSAN II MOSQUE, Casablanca.

In Casa, you know when you’ve seen it. Its minaret rising up over 200 metres toward the heavens, above the surrounding towers, shanty towns and shops.

The Hassan II mosque is the third largest mosque in the world. When in service, its retractable roof opens to the heavens, unveiling 25,000 worshippers to the sky. Costing more than half a billion pounds to build; it employed a 24-hour a day workforce for six years, hammering away until finally: completion. Whilst the surrounding area still takes shape, the building cuts a powerful figure. Behind it, waves crash onto the rocks on the waterfront. A true spectacle, at night its minaret lights up, indicating the way to Mecca.

Reaching its plaza, J.T., Fatboy, Olly and Laura descend the complex for the 2.30 guided tour. By charging tourists and allowing non-Muslims inside the mosque (a rarity in the Islamic world) the mosque pays for its upkeep, saving a further drain on the country’s already diminished resources. The building was, after all, paid for by ‘voluntary’ contributions from its population.

As they queue, conversation between the foursome is minimal, drained as they are by the afternoon sun and stifling heat. Now in its peak, it is an adversary not worth fighting.

After what seems like an age, they enter the building with their English guide in tow. They remove their shoes, as is the custom, and congregate in the main prayer room, resplendent in the finest materials from across the land. Only the chandeliers are imported, with Italy’s glass deemed superior than Morocco’s.

Their guide introduces herself as she covers her head. As she speaks, she plays, twirling her headscarf through her fingers a few times before placing in back on her head. She repeats her routine throughout the next hour.

First though, she’ll finds out where the group are from:

“UK.” “USA.” “Australia.” “England.” “Scotland.” “Holland.” “Nederlansch.” “Ireland.” “Ger-many.”

Next it comes to Fatboy, “England”. Next J.T., possessed he booms out in a fake German accent, “ENG-LANT. JA, ENG-LANT.”

The tour guide looks at him, bemused, whilst his three friends struggle to hide their laughter. She moves on. Maybe you shouldn’t act like this in a holy place?

As they walk away, Fatboy whispers, still laughing, into J.T.’s ear: “What was that?”

“I couldn’t help it… I heard the German bloke and I wanted to outdo him.”

A whirlwind tour of the impressive mosque, accompanying Absolution Rooms and Hamman follows, before the foursome ascend from the building’s bowels toward the sun. The staircase’s glare and heat increases with each step upward. Exhausted, they reach the summit of this tiled mountain. Standing in the plaza, in front of the building, a sea of pale brick and green tile-work and tiled roof faces them. Thrusting upwards, its minaret reaches toward the sky. Turning they survey the rest of the plaza, big enough to house an army. Behind it, Casablanca: home to over five million living souls and the countless bodies of history buried in the ground. It is a ever-growing, sprawling, growing city, with all but a few becoming poorer and more desperate by the day.

They walk across the plaza, towards the water edge. Below them, they observe five-metre high waves break with anger and fizz on the coastal walls and rocks.

“Quite choppy down there…”

“You don’t say?”

“Fuck off.”

As they adjust to the sun’s brightness and stare out to sea, the four split as the couple get separated from J.T. and Fatboy and wander off. Just as they realise, J.T. and Fatboy are distracted by the sight of 50-odd Moroccan kids running past a protective barrier to the edge. Below it, they look over a fifty-foot sheer drop onto the crashing waves. To the Brits, this seems like a dream; kids of all ages, opaque against the blinding sun throwing themselves manically one-by-one into the thrashing waves below. Not a care in the world. They jump, crash, splash in the waves and climb up and out via the rocks. They scale the rocks and wall, run right back up the stairs to the top and do it again. And again. After hundreds of jumps later, the police arrive to disperse the crowds. Or walk around whistling and shouting at the youngsters. They whistle some more and wander off. Ten minutes later, the kids are back.

END OF EXTRACT.

a month in maroc.

August 5, 2006

Half of a 16,000-word novella, a month in maroc has been posted online, accessible under the ‘a month in maroc’ tab (top of the page). This iis a partial reconstruction of a backpacking trip I took with my friend, David Ho – a.k.a. Fatboy, Norm or Stan – around Morocco in late 2005. The route we took was:

ALMERIA – AL HOCEIMA – FES – MEKNES – RABAT – CASABLANCA – MARRAKESH – CASCADES D’OUZOUD – AZILAL – MARRAKESH – ESSAOUIRA – TANGIER – CHEFCHAOUEN.

I’m going on hols for a week to Lake Garda, the most beautiful place in the world, so will finish the update when I get back and upload the second half. Enjoy it if you read it and comment away.

a month in maroc

J.